The Whole Health Diet: A Transformational Approach to Weight Loss

CHAPTER 5

A MATTER OF ENERGY

A Transformational Invitation

Whenever we view an object, our interpretation about what we’re seeing is entirely dependent upon what we’ve been taught to believe we’re looking at. I often reflect on a conversation I once had with a friend of mine from China. He explained to me that in his province in China, the intersections are governed completely differently than ours here in the West. He told me that the red lights and signs posted at the intersections indicate that the driver may proceed, while the green lights and signs direct them to stop. He told me that it was very difficult for him to reformat his mind for safe driving here in the United States.

I can relate. Having made some trips to Great Britain and Bermuda, I’ve often found myself feeling as though I was driving on the wrong side of the road, and even found myself drifting into the wrong lane from time to time. A programmed mind tends to see what it was programmed to believe it’s looking at, rather than perceiving the truth of a situation.

Every culture is grounded in its own perceptions of reality, largely based on adopted systems and theories. Science, religion, and politics are among the many systems and theories that influence and shape our sociocultural beliefs. Once they’re anchored, cultures embrace their sociocultural beliefs for generations. For example, for five thousand years, the East has commonly embraced the belief that qi, or life force energy, is the primary currency of life. The culture with the largest population on our planet has articulately developed a myriad of healing and self-defense systems based on this elusive concept. Chinese cultural reality is profoundly influenced by a history rich in mysticism and extrasensory perception. Here in the West, it’s been a very different story. Our reality’s been shaped by biological science and five-sensory perception. What we’ve always believed we were looking at has merely been a reflection of the matter we were taught to see.

As author Pam Grout explains in her book E-Squared, “Any illusionist worth his magic wand understands that the most important ingredient in his sleight-of-hand repertoire is diversion. A magician diverts his audience’s attention away from what he’s really doing and directs it toward something else that seems crucial but, of course, isn’t.

“That’s what we’ve done—diverted all our attention to the physical world. These sensory ‘bluffs’ have caused us to miss the fact that what is invisible, what we can’t see with our eyes, is actually more fundamental to life than what we do see.

“Quantum physics tells us that the invisible energy realm—collectively referred to as the field, or the ‘FP,’ as I call it—is the primary governing force of the material realm. It’s the blueprint that forms reality. Indeed, we now know the universe is made of nothing but waves and particles of energy that conform to our expectations, judgments, and beliefs.

“Subtle energies, thoughts, emotions, and consciousness play the starring roles in our life experiences, but because they’re invisible, we haven’t attempted to understand them or use them in our favor. To change the world is a simple matter of changing these expectations and beliefs. It’s truly that easy. Bringing something into the physical world requires focusing not on what we see, but on what we want to see.”1

The Western world long held fast to the belief that reality is a purely material proposition—humans are made of cells, chairs are made of wood, and cars are made of steel. Our perceptions, beliefs, and Newtonian illusions regarding a matter-based reality were firmly entrenched. Then, on November 9, 1922, when Albert Einstein was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on the photoelectric effect, suddenly the game was changed. Einstein went on to further detail how energy creates matter, and that energy and matter are interconvertible and transferable.

All at once, our most fundamental governing concepts regarding our perceptions and beliefs about reality became obsolete. We learned from one of the most brilliant minds the world has ever known that humans are made up of more than cells, chairs are made up of more than wood, and cars are made up of more than steel. Suddenly we were forced to extend our thinking beyond our culture programming. We were now forced to consider a new reality, which asserted that life precedes cell, and it exists far beyond the five senses.

Einstein’s work made it clear that the reality hierarchy doesn’t begin with the cell, it begins with energy. Now we were compelled to acknowledge that material cells are made up of atoms, which in turn are composed of something that precedes them, called particles—particles of energy. In short, our view of reality, previously believed to be purely material, had been completely redefined as energy-established. Nonetheless, the biological science and five-sense perception that influenced our reality for so long has maintained an iron grip on our belief system.

I’ve often said that even though Einstein proved to us that energy creates matter, we’ve managed to resist surrendering our Newtonian ways for nearly a hundred years. We therefore should either take back his Nobel Prize or accept its transformational invitation.

It’s natural for human beings to adapt, and equally natural for cultures to shift. Mass culture shifts are representative of large populations shedding their skin and evolving together as an extended family that’s always in search of a better way to live. Culture shifts are about massive growth for the betterment of civilizations. Human beings are forced by nature to adapt and evolve in order to survive and to prosper. When any new idea comes along that offers to make life easier or better, the tribe generally gets on board. In fact the PC, the iPhone, and the ever-evolving world of apps are living proof that our tribe is ready, willing, and able to get on board. And while this is especially true regarding agents of material technology, it’s also evident with energy.

It wasn’t all that long ago when people in America, by and large, were unaware of yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, acupressure, qigong, and Reiki. I can remember when, not that many years ago, a vast majority of us thought of these energy-healing arts as nothing more than voodoo. Today, millions of Americans are routinely feeling their benefits.

It’s becoming clear that something profound is happening in our world today. Global culture is, at present, transitioning radically. The world has at last caught up to Einstein, and the Internet has enticed us into its reality of unlimited information. It’s a time of infinite possibility. Our thinking has radically changed and our consciousness has been infinitely expanded. We’re both better equipped for and more in need of this radical change. Never before have human beings been so well informed. But, at the same time, never before have they been so overinformed. We’ve created a world that generates great intensity. The bombardment of information is accompanied by a deluge of expectation. Our nervous systems are being forced to operate on overload, and as they do, we have a greater need for a variety of systems that can render life support, healing, and stress relief. Where we, as a culture, once waited until we were ill to seek medical intervention, we’re now inclined to employ health care support that enables us to prevent the onset of symptoms. So it’s through this natural process of evolution and adaptation that we are suddenly finding it easier to open ourselves up to energy medicine. The present culture shift is reflecting a world that’s gradually preparing to embrace the reality that everything is energy. Moreover, as we continue to evolve in our energy awareness we’ll eventually come to understand that there is an infinite variety of energy applications that enable us to take our healing to a much higher level.

Energy

The first thing that comes to my mind whenever I hear the word “energy” is the dissimilarity of its Eastern and Western translations. Here in the West, “energy” is a noun that refers to the capacity to generate power or vigorous activity. Western science generally explains that energy manifests itself in four principal forms: potential energy, radiant energy, kinetic energy, and electromagnetic energy. For most of us mere mortals here in the modern West, the word “energy” refers to either what we don’t have at four o’clock in the afternoon or what we hope we have enough of to heat and cool our homes. For our purposes in this book, “energy” refers to the animating force that vivifies all living things. Our use of the word will center on a more Eastern understanding.

In the East the word “energy” is synonymous with “life force.” There are more than 150 words, in virtually every language and culture, denoting the idea of life force energy. Life force energy is the imperceptible animating property that both embodies and imbues all living things. It reflects both cause and effect. The wind is a perfect metaphor. You can’t see it, but you can surely see and feel its material effects. There are many common examples to help us grasp the elusive Eastern concept of energy. For example, we’ve all been in the presence of someone who’s repressing powerful emotions that he or she is attempting to conceal. In spite of this person’s failed attempts to repress and conceal, we can’t help but feel the energy emanating from those pent-up emotions. This example underscores the great dichotomy of energy, as it is immaterial and imperceptible, yet undeniably powerful. It is the potential of its power that makes this esoteric understanding of energy so compelling.

The power of energy has been studied extensively in the East. Though elusive, the remarkable potentials of energy have been harnessed and channeled in both the martial and healing arts for thousands of years. Acupuncture, acupressure, qigong, Reiki, tai chi, kung fu, karate, and yoga—among many other systems of healing and self-defense—are living testaments to the extraordinary potentials of energy.

Everything is energy, and energy is everywhere. It is always right where it belongs, in its natural place holding the universe together. If we were to pluck even a single particle of energy from the ether in front of our face, the entire universe would collapse. Energy is within us and all around us. It is in infinite supply and always readily available. We have energy within every particle, atom, molecule, chromosome, cell, tissue, and organ of our body. We are all the donors and recipients of a constant flow of life force energy. We receive it from the air we breathe, the food we eat, the love we share, the sun, the moon, and the stars. We are conduits of universal energy that can have too much, just enough, or not enough energy in virtually every given measure of our being. There are times when we might feel that our body has an abundance of energy, even though our spirit feels low. We may begin our day with a depressed spirit but meet up with a good friend later that day who inspires, uplifts, and infuses our psyche. Energy is in a constant state of flux—it is never fixed but always fluid. Its fluidity is clearly observable in our health. One year may be remembered as a period of excellent health with very few episodes of illness, while another reflects a time of frequent doctor visits, nagging symptoms, and absentee days from work. Moreover, the flux that relates to our health energies reveals patterns about our ups and downs. For instance, we may note that our dietary and sleep patterns are healthier during the good years, and not so healthy during the bad years. This overly simplistic example underscores the fact that we have a choice as to whether or not we will cultivate abundant life force energy. The life force energy that brings abundant life and health can be cultivated, generated, intensified, reduced, received, and transmitted. And while our Western minds haven’t been formatted to fully appreciate, respect, and implement life force energy as an agent of health and healing, the East provides us with some truly remarkable models for our edification.

A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to observe Chinese doctors in a Beijing hospital perform surgery to remove a brain tumor. Only three physicians were present for the procedure. There was a surgeon, an acupuncturist in charge of anesthesia, and a second acupuncturist to regulate the patient’s bleeding. All anesthesia and all hemostatic function were regulated by acupuncture alone. As I looked on, the surgeon actually conversed with the patient throughout the surgery, while the patient’s pain and bleeding were completely controlled by needles strategically placed in vital bioenergetic pathways on his body. So, here we see a remarkable example of how the energies associated with pain, bleeding, and vital functions can be regulated and balanced. It was a truly astounding thing to see such energy mastery!

On another occasion, I observed a martial arts qigong master demonstrate a Shaolin self-defense technique, as he effortlessly cast six large attackers to the ground from some thirty feet away. And as they tried to get up, the would-be attackers found themselves frozen to the ground, completely unable to rise. To think, the master was able to do all this with energy. Impressing the mechanistic Western mind with the sensational potentials of energy only serves as a distraction since, given that mind-set, this form of energy manipulation could only be a trick. But energy isn’t merely something we can learn to master. It is rather what we truly are. In fact, it’s what everything is—and that’s the key point. Energy is about transforming our self-limiting, obsolete material reality, and awakening to energetic reality while opening ourselves up to energy’s limitless possibilities.

Nobel Prize–winning physicists have proven that material reality is but a grand illusion. So, too, then, is the notion of limitation that accompanies it. Therefore, it’s not merely time we shed our anachronistic material mentality, but also high time we embraced the boundless continuum of possibility that accompanies energetic reality.

The key word once again is “balance.” When it comes to the manifestation of energy, there are only three primary manifestations—too much, not enough, and balanced. Both the disharmony of the East and the disease of the West result from either too much or not enough energy.

The primary goal of the WHD is to assess, balance, and preserve energy through its system of energy diagnostics, diet, lifestyle, and mental and emotion management. This can be achieved through energy exercises. Energetically speaking, all aspects of our total being (body, mind, and spirit) are holistically interrelated and interdependent. In order to attain holism and balance, the energies that seek to flow freely within us must be constantly assessed, balanced, and preserved. This is especially true of metabolism and diet.

In the World of Energy, One Size Doesn’t Fit All

It’s truly remarkable to think that of the seven billion inhabitants of planet earth, no two of them have the same DNA. In spite of this fact, our present culture insists on conducting its affairs as if everyone was the same.

And so it is with our approach to dieting.

Despite the fact that there are three metabolic categories and an infinite array of unique chemistries and personalities, massive numbers of us continue to eat the same diets. We insist on subscribing to this oversimplistic, one-size-fits-all approach to living, but it simply doesn’t work, and it never will. In fact, it’s one of the major reasons why diets don’t work. The only way a dietary program can provide lasting results is if it embraces the philosophy of bio-individuality. Even better by far would be a dietary program that embraces an energy-based individuality. For, far beyond our biological singularity at our unseen core, we are made up of energies that are even more profoundly unique. The differentness of our deeper thoughts, emotions, wishes, hopes, and dreams reveals joined code with separate universes unto themselves.

Energy Codes

I’ve lived and practiced in New England for many years, and the temperature here ranges seasonally from approximately minus twenty degrees to over one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Whether we’re talking about the temperature variances here in New England, NBA basketball scores, or the amount of calories in different servings of food, there is always a vast but finite number of comparative variables in the material world. In the world of energy, it’s very different. In the world of energy, there are but five categories of comparative variables, each with infinite possibilities. These five manifestations of energy are:

1.     Abundant

2.     Excessive

3.     Balanced

4.     Deficient

5.     Insufficient

Everything in the universe—which includes you and me—has a general energy tendency, or code, that correlates with one of these five manifestations. That is to say, you and I are generally filled with either abundant energy, excessive energy, balanced energy, deficient energy, or insufficient energy. Regarding the aspect of infinite possibilities, the same comparative variables may be assigned to each and every aspect of our lives. For example, someone could have a general constitutional code that is deficient in energy, but when it comes to going to sleep at night, she could be filled with such an excess of energy that she can’t sleep. Some people have a strong, energized mind but a deficient, hypersensitive stomach. For our purposes in this book, we will be focusing strictly on your metabolic energy code. This can be initiated by first converting the results of your metabolic questionnaire in chapter 3 into one of the five manifestations of energy. Did you score fast, balanced, or slow? Extremely fast metabolic types should be coded “excessive.” Moderately fast metabolic types should be coded “abundant.” Balanced metabolic types should be coded “balanced.” Moderately slow metabolic types should be coded “deficient.” And extremely slow metabolic types should be coded “insufficient.”

This little mental exercise is designed to change your programming from material to energetic. These references enable you to begin thinking of yourself, your calorie-burning thyroid gland, and your foods as more than just cellular entities. They provide you with the references and guidelines with which to engage your WHD body, mind, and spirit energy applications.

Energy Dieting

The WHD represents a revolutionary concept that begins with the personal transformation of the dieter. The most important aspect of this personal transformation begins with a redefining of the person’s understanding of life—especially self—and food. Up until now, both you and the foods you eat have likely been thought of in the purely material perspective. From this point forward, the WHD requires that you think of yourself and the foods you eat as pure energy. You and I have been conditioned to believe in a material-based reality, even though quantum mechanics has demonstrated that everything appearing to us as matter—including ourselves and the foods we eat—is in fact composed of 99.999 percent energy and only 0.001 percent matter. In fact, everything you see before you is made up of unseen energy particles that mass together, giving the appearance of solid matter. It’s not unlike how the freezing of fluid water makes it into solid ice cubes. Both we and the foods we eat are made up of fluid energy that forms solid matter.

There are distinct advantages associated with this transformational shift in perception. The biggest advantage comes from the concept of energetic individuality. By this, I mean every dieter is unique and every food is unique. In the material world all dieters are the same and, once categorized, all foods are also very similar. A dieter is a dieter and a blueberry is a blueberry. In the world of energy, every dieter is unique, and every blueberry is unique—this concept flies in the face of the present one-size-fits-all philosophy. Another decided advantage is that when people follow the guidance of an energy-based dietary system, their ongoing life changes can be more accurately kept up with.

Energy is in a constant state of flux. A dieter who has an efficient calorie-burning metabolism on Monday may encounter an emotionally stressful confrontation on Monday night, which impairs his or her metabolism on Tuesday. Stressful occasions, nightmares, mental anticipation, and joyous excitation are all representative of states that continually weave their way in and out of our lives. These states represent fluctuating shifts in our energies, capable of altering the body’s calorie-burning potential. Once mastered, the WHD system enables individuals to bioenergetically pinpoint their most metabolically efficient foods. Equally important, it enables them to keep up with their day-to-day changes with remarkable accuracy.

Optimizing Calorie-Burning Efficiency with Energy

By better understanding energy and the concept of holistic balance, we can better support our metabolism. For our purposes in this book, it’s important to note that the energy of our thyroid gland determines the efficiency with which we burn calories. In other words, the more balanced the energy of our thyroid gland, the more efficiently we are likely to metabolize food, burn calories, and stabilize our weight. This all-important balance can be achieved by performing simple energy exercises. With the help of these exercises, anyone can easily channel energy to balance and optimize their metabolic thyroid efficiency. I realize that most of you have likely never heard this before, and it may sound too good to be true. However, all that’s necessary is your open mind, your willingness to change, and just a little bit of know-how.

A number of things can deplete the thyroid gland of its energy. Trauma, stress, lack of sleep, improper diet, tobacco, overconsumption of alcoholic beverages, and chronic negative thinking are all capable of depleting a thyroid gland and sending it way out of balance. Remember, energy enters the body and energy is released from the body. When it enters the body, it charges it. When it is released from the body, it depletes it. It’s important that we learn to monitor our calorie-burning thyroid energy so that we can recharge it whenever necessary.

Monitoring is quite simple. It begins with simply tuning. I’d like to ask you right now to just take a moment to scan your body’s energy field with your mind. Chances are excellent that you can easily tap into the energy state of your thyroid gland by simply tuning in to the field of your vitality. Let’s give it a try.

Focus your mind’s attention on the energy within your internal body. As you’re reading these words I’ll ask you to focus your awareness on the zone between your throat and your heart. Do you feel this region between your throat and heart is energetically out of balance, and if so, how? Try to tune in to whether this zone feels hyperenergized, balanced, or exhausted. You might consider repeating the subtle exercise at different times of the day. Remember, energy is always in a state of flux. Nonetheless, the more you practice this monitoring process, the more it will enable you to zero in on your energy code.

The Power of Thought-Field Energy

So, if everything is energy, then all energy must exist within a certain domain. The area occupied by any given concentration of energy is called a field. For example, we’ve all seen photographs of lightning strikes, revealing ambient energy charges encircling jagged bolts of lightning. The human electromagnetic field generally produces an aura that extends from the body to a distance of between one and thirty-six inches. Everything is energy, and all energy manifests within a concentrated field. Every particle produces an energy field. Every atom produces an energy field. Every molecule produces an energy field. Every strand of DNA produces an energy field. Every cell produces an energy field. Every vital tissue produces an energy field. Every gland and organ produce an energy field. Therefore, your thyroid gland produces an active energy field that expands and contracts depending on trauma, stress, diet, and sleep, among other factors. As previously stated, energy represents both cause and effect. Not only are we made up of energy, but we are also capable of altering energy. Moreover, we are capable of being a conduit, channeling energy for the purpose of balancing. So if your thyroid energy is deficient, you may channel energy into it for the purpose of strengthening and balancing. If your thyroid is overactive, you may decrease its excessive energy in order to bring it into a state of better balance.

This is actually quite simple. It’s all about projecting a strong channel of energy via intention. We must remember that thoughts are things and that energy and matter are interconvertible. We merely have to overcome the confusing limitations imposed by our material indoctrination. By combining strong mental intention with determined willpower, we are amassing powerful energy that must ultimately be converted into matter. Perhaps Einstein summarized it best by simply stating, “Energy creates matter.” Simply focus your thoughts on the area at the base of your neck, just underneath your Adam’s apple. This is the area occupied by your thyroid gland. Then visualize yourself transmitting a healing stream of balanced energy from the brow area between your eyes directly to your thyroid gland, for no more than two to three minutes. For anyone who is overweight or obese or who has been diagnosed with thyroid disease, this exercise should be practiced daily.

Energetically Thinking Yourself Thin

The hypothesis that human consciousness has the potential to directly affect matter in the form of metabolism change and weight loss represents a considerable stretch for most material minds, but cutting-edge quantum physics provides more than one detailed explanation.

The theory of orchestrated objective reduction, recently advanced by mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, asserts that the energy of human consciousness vibrates materially within the microtubules of brain neurons.2 This recent groundbreaking research, published in Physics of Life Reviews, identifies the genesis where the ether of thought first metamorphoses into the biological, and opens the door to a fuller understanding of how thought energy alters matter.

Human thought produces anharmonic vibrations within brain-neuron microtubules, which are then transferred between synapses—but the vibrational frequency they emit generates much more than a mere local influence. Our thoughts produce frequencies that are transmitted into the infinite. Every thought we think changes the universe, particle by particle. According to the laws of superposition, our observation of reality has a direct effect on reality. We must keep two important points in mind here—first, that everything is energy; and second, that thoughts are things. In fact, thoughts are energetic things that make material things happen.

“Max Planck, Hubbard, Einstein, and Stephen Hawking all seem to agree that the universe/god is actually a set of laws and principles that we can count on to create our world,” writes author Peter Baksa. “Stephen Hawking and Richard Feynman both speak in terms of M-theory and string theory to further postulate how thoughts become matter. Our minds are essentially idea machines, that refine our thoughts into electrical impulses, which communicate with the same source energy that creates everything from nothing.”3 Therefore, by the mere nature of our consciousness, we are creators. So how, then, might we create changes in our physical metabolism with our conscious thoughts? Over the years, I’ve instructed thousands of patients in the art of thinking themselves thin. It’s always proved helpful and it’s really quite simple.

Both our thyroid gland and our thoughts are made up of energy. Our thoughts are made up of energy that possesses the power to create material change. It’s all about setting a strong intention to have an effect. Remember, there are three major options for energy. Energy is either deficient, balanced, or excessive. If our thyroid gland is underactive, and we’ve always struggled to lose weight, it means that our thyroid is energy deficient. If our thyroid energy is deficient, we might consider setting a strong thought intention designed to boost our thyroid gland, and thus our calorie-burning potential. This isn’t rocket science. I advise patients to take four minutes in the morning and four minutes in the afternoon to sit in a quiet, undisturbed environment, with eyes closed, while engaging in positive willful thoughts determined to stimulate their thyroid gland, located at the front base of the neck. Simply send it some determined, energy-charged thoughts twice daily for four minutes each time, and make things happen metabolically.

The Power of Imagination Energy

In the words of Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

“Einstein’s aphorism reflects a recurrent theme in human thought,” writes Prashjay. “The ancient dichotomy between what we know and what we dream is found, in some form, in every field of human intellectual endeavor.”4

He taught us that energy and matter are two manifestations of the same thing. We might do well to think of energy as activated matter, and matter as energy waiting to be activated. Everything is energy, even us, every scintilla of us. Our body, mind, and spirit are made up of both activated energy and energy waiting to be activated. Our ability to activate our matter into energy is limited only by our belief. Our perception about our capacity to have an energetic effect on ourselves, each other, the world, and the universe is grossly underestimated. Our programming has led us to believe the only real effects we’re capable of producing are those tangible, material effects that are aligned with our five senses. We know we can effect material change with the power of our hands, but what about the power of our imagination? After all, imagination represents the creative ability to form a picture of something in our mind that eludes the senses. Imagination is often a form of highly inspired thought, or thought in spirit.

Like all things, conscious thought is composed of energy. So every time we imagine, we create. Thoughts are things. Our mechanistically programmed minds tend to have a hard time associating the imperceptible nature of thought as something tangible. However, we must keep in mind that thought has crystalline, quartzlike properties that generate electromagnetic frequencies, capable of altering matter.

Ongoing neuroplasticity research continues to discover that rehearsed imagination is a primary vehicle for the brain’s neurogenesis. In other words, the more frequently we imagine an event, the more our brain redesigns and adapts itself to support its manifestation. Translation: imagine it often enough, and you likely create it. Neuroplasticity studies have shown that whenever we focus on an intention, we activate neural pathways in the brain in a way that can actually increase the outcome probability.

A 2004 study performed by the Cleveland Clinic discovered that subjects could increase their finger strength 53 percent through physical exercise over a twelve-week period. Remarkably, a second group in the study showed a 35 percent strength increase through mental visualization alone.5 According to a 2007 study performed at Bishop’s University in Quebec, athletes who practiced hip flexor exercises increased muscle strength 28 percent. Astoundingly, a second group was able to increase the same hip flexor strength 24 percent by simply imagining that they were practicing the same hip flexor exercises.6

A 2007 Harvard study led by neurologist Alvaro Pascual-Leone gave a group of musically skilled subjects instructions to practice a specific piece for five days, two hours a day, for a total of ten hours. Their brains were scanned before and after each practice session. As expected, the skilled subjects revealed active neural stimulation in a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. Another group, made up of randomly selected, musically unskilled subjects, was given almost the same exact assignment. The only difference between the two groups was that the unskilled musicians never actually physically played the piano—instead, they engaged in mental rehearsal only. They, too, were brain scanned before and after each rehearsal session. Pascual-Leone and his associates were amazed to discover that the results of the brain scans consistently revealed exactly the same active neural brain stimulation with the mental rehearsal group as with the physical performance group.7 Because of this, and other similar studies, researchers have come to learn that the anterior cingulate cortex responds to imagination exactly as it responds to fact. Simply put, it believes what it sees. Moreover, by simply visualizing an event, the anterior cingulate cortex cues the rest of the body to physiologically respond to the imagined visualization as if it were real.

Might this phenomenon prove useful to dieters?

In 2010, Carey Morewedge, then an assistant professor of social and decision sciences at Carnegie Mellon University, led three hundred volunteers in an interesting imagination study that showed that by imagining eating a food, we tend to reduce our actual consumption of that food. In fact, Morewedge and his associates noted a reduction of 50 percent in the amount of food consumed by participants who imagined eating that food before actually being given it.8

The neurological processes of our brain’s anterior cingulate cortex determine what is called “habituation.” Habituation is described as our mechanistic approach to determining how much one is in fact overconsuming beyond the satiety point. So, by simply imagining (visualizing) that you are overconsuming food, your brain will kick into habituation mode, convincing your body that it’s had enough.

The WHD encourages dieters to devote a minimum of ten minutes per day to a visualization exercise in which they envision themselves overconsuming a favorite food. When I first introduce this idea to many of my patients, they often express great apprehension, thinking that it will increase their consumption. I encourage them not to be afraid, and I remind them that this exercise has proven extremely helpful to many thousands of WHD dieters over the past three decades.